Rocky Springs : An Adventure into the Past

Rocky Springs is an adventure into Mississippi history. Located on the Natchez Trace the ghost town has now been transformed into a campground and a trail detailing it’s past life. The remnants of this town are haunting and intriguing. Jess and I pack a picnic lunch and take to the Natchez Trace for an afternoon adventure.

Visitors entering into Rocky Springs are greeted by beautiful trees in the forest landscape. The paved road is filled with the options of turning into the campground or driving and parking at the entrance to the trail around the remnants of Rocky Springs. We decide to park at the trail and tour the site before our picnic.  At the entrance to the trail there is a board enclosed in glass that has a map of the trail.

The trail begins with the birth of the town and ends at the remaining sites of Rocky Springs. The sites contain an old church and a cemetery. A haunting reminder of the history of this town. The trail is beautiful and surrounded by a forest. The sun shines through the trees on this day and there is a pleasant breeze. Jess and I read the signs of the birth of Rocky Springs.

The ecosystem surrounding this area had a spring that served as a source of life for the plant and wildlife. In the late 1700’s this was a perfect spot to form the town of Rocky Springs.  The Natchez Trace was still well-traveled and there was farmland close by to provide food and cotton for traders. Rocky Springs thrived for many years as a community.

It is not hard to picture the life of the people at this town. The town was growing at a steady pace. There were merchants, teachers, and doctors to aid the people in their daily lives. This was a prosperous time when the people would be laughing and enjoying life. The ecosystem is alive with birds, animals, and other wildlife. It was a wonderful time to live in Rocky Springs.

As the years passed there were changes in the ecosystem. Hard times began to fall on the people of Rocky Springs and the surrounding farms. The landscape became diseased and crops began to fail. These changes may have been preventable if the people had known how to manage the land . Insects and erosion became the invading army and the land was devastated. The people began to move away as the food supply dwindled and the hard times continued. It would take years for the ecosystem to recover. But as time passed and preservation initiatives took hold the land regained its fertility.

rocky springs tree april 28

Other changes were occurring in the life of the town. The country was experiencing the Civil War and it would not be long before the war reached the town. Many people on both sides of the battles were killed or wounded. The blood shed would aid the poor management of the land to destroy the town.It was a horrible time in history for all involved.

This war would cause much hardship to all people in the country. Rocky Springs was one of many towns in the country to suffer. Many tears would be shed over the loss of loved ones and economic stability. Years would pass before the people of both sides could move forward. There is much pain and suffering in a war.

A third invader of the land would mark the end of the town. Yellow fever is a disease that took many lives. There was no modern medicine to aid the people and the cause of the disease was poorly understood. The outbreak would be contained and the survivors were relieved. The disease would be contained for several years and then returned to inflict pain and suffering once more. The death toll continued to rise. The remaining people would move on in search of a better life.

rocky spring cemetery april 28

Eventually Rocky Springs became a ghost town with a beautiful church and a haunting cemetery left to tell the story. The church is still alive and services are held in the building. The cemetery behind the church has many old graves of people who once lived in this thriving town. It is a solemn reminder of how fragile life is and how we are only in this world for a brief time.

rocky springs church 2 april 28

Jess and I make our way to the campground to find a picnic table. The afternoon sun is warm and the gentle breeze is still flowing through the trees. We enjoy our food and then pack the truck to return home. The Natchez Trace continues to be a pleasant drive with beautiful scenery. We reflect upon our blessings and ponder on what our next adventure will be.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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